Member Spotlight:


Lisa Fellows Bobbitt
VISTA, Financial Empowerment ~ United Way of Summit County


What led you to your position at the Financial Empowerment Center? 
My life was completely transformed with a peace I didn’t know existed when I learned strategies to better manage financial stress and reach major milestones like becoming debt free. Feeling compelled to explore ways of translating my experience and acquiring new skills to empower others in my community of Akron, I connected with the new Financial Empowerment Center (FEC). This summer I decided to pursue this opportunity to join FEC by becoming the AmeriCorps VISTA through United Way of Summit County. At FEC, we offer free one-on-one financial counseling by certified financial coaches, free services by volunteer IRS tax preparers, and guidance on accessing safe and affordable banking options.

What is most challenging in your position? What is most rewarding?
It has been humbling to switch from a content area I was very confident in to now daily navigating the learning curve of different content while forming all new relationships. The most rewarding elements have been to creatively thinking through how we may better reach our community through various initiatives, like integrating our services, enhancing our current processes and building our capacity. I enjoy developing our Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) training program and learning what strategies coaches utilize to encourage clients to reach their financial goals.

How does your job make a difference in your community?
I believe we support individuals learning skills to pay off debt, improve credit, access affordable banking and save for the future. We’ve made a difference in Summit County by providing free tax services for households with less than $60,000 annual income. In the first year, FEC completed nearly 900 tax returns, saving our neighbors over $180,000 in tax preparation costs and bringing nearly 1.1 million back to our community through federal and state refunds!

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not at work?
I try to enjoy the simple things, like going outside for a hike, working in my garden or relaxing in my hammock; inside I can be found being creative in the kitchen or making earrings for my business, Simply Beadiful Designs. It is a joy spending time with family, especially my husband Paul, nephews Nick (10), Titus (2), Elliott (4 months) and niece Felicity (1).

How does being an FVA member benefit you in your position?
Being part of the FVA community has been a true source of encouragement. The most significant benefit is forming friendships that are unlike others. When FVA members connect, we support each other by providing a safe space to share challenges, brainstorm solutions together, and improve our respective organizations. I believe we sincerely let one another know we are not alone, encourage each other to reflect on our professional goals, and explore what areas we can improve upon in this unique field. I am incredibly grateful to be a part of and support such a wonderful organization.

Learn more about the Financial Empowerment Center and United Way of Summit County, and how to get involved at